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Mary Robinson Education. (2013) 'Everybody Matters My Life Giving Voice.' New.

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Us 11, United Nations 6, New York 5, Mary Robinson 4, Dublin 4, China 4, Ethiopia 3, Russia 3, United States 3, Washington 3, Britain 3, Somalia 3, Syria 3, Strasbourg 3, Obama 2, U.n. 2, Thomas Mann 2, Jimmy Carter 2, Cooper 2, Ireland 2,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Mary Robinson  Education.  (2013)  
   'Everybody Matters My Life Giving Voice.' New.  

    March 24, 2013
    10:00 - 11:30pm EDT  

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>> good evening. it's my distinct pleasure to introduce you. i a.m. the president of cooper union and it is a pleasure to introduce a former president of ireland whom i assume most of you have come know about and mary robinson, if you know, her book is quite a revelation. we are fortunate to have her
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tonight and a little bit of background for those of you who may be new to the hall, it is a place where abraham lincoln gave his famous speech probably from this very podium and that began a long history that this justice movements including the suffragettes and susan b. anthony worked in this building, the naacp had differs convention here and the first native conference of native american leaders led by red fox was held in this very room in the 19th century at a time when people were slaughtered on the plains. there is a lot of history here, made sense, that
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occurred during critical and turbulent times with irish immigration to the united states as well. from 1866 when 1,000 supporters of the brotherhood met here write-up to the eve of 1916 easter rising the stage was the host to the irish independence movement, led james stevens and michael collins. i was intrigued by some of those and thanks to google could find in "new york times" article from 1887 when the brother had assembled in the hall and the article is entitled marred by discord. apparently one of the speakers named richard "
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after a careful study of irish history, he comes to the conclusion the best way to right the wrongs of the oppressed country was to plant the bomb and a part of england. therein followed jeers and i yell of dynamite. this speaker then attacked another speaker, mr. patrick, whose name was received with catcalls and he had to be protected by people who were escorted out of paul. -- hall''. tonight will be much more civil than that but to give you a sense of continuity of the history here coming it is most fitting lee it will come the most honorable mary robinson the former un high commissioner to cooper union and president of ireland. her career is devoted to the
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pursuit of fairness in all aspects of society. as an activist lawyer she defended the causes of women that were marginalized as a member of the irish senate she promoted progressive legislation including the legalization of contraception for the president robinson has been the honorary president and is a member of the elders 11 independent group leaders brought together by mandela to offer collective experience to promote the -- peace building and to promote the shared interest of humanity. in 2009 obama awarded the presidential medal of freedom calling an advocate for the hungry and hunted and be forgotten and ignored. mary robinson it has not only showed a light on human suffering but those for a
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better future for the world. in her book "everybody matters" my life giving voice" really sets out the work of our speaker and i will allow her to speak in her own voice. please welcome president mary robinson. [applause]>> thank you very mucr that warm welcome. it is very inspiring to be in a hall that has had so many illustrious speakers, especially with social justice and wanting the kind of change that will
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be better for society. i am delighted to be here at cooper union and i am delighted of the sponsorship of n.y.u. which i am very familiar with so i feel at home for a lot of reasons and i appreciate the fact you braved the weather and the elements for three yesterday was so beautiful. what happened today? this is new york but it can change so dramatically and so quickly. i feel very at home because i have an early experience of learning about human rights. very early. growing up in the west of ireland wedged between two brothers and older and two brothers younger i had to be
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interested in equality and human rights but using my elbows to assert myself but as i try to explain in the book but that was not the norm but growing up in ireland where girls and women knew their place in the home or as a 90 or possibly to become a writer or a artist or a musician. i was very aware this you seem to have much more options even though my parent's repeated i had the same opportunities that my brothers had and they would support me in that. of the six years of the boarding school in dublin, i realize the options were not
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very exciting. most of my contemporaries at the time were talking about what they would year -- due for a year or two before they got married as that was the objective and the parents would help and it was expected. i had benefited from the nuns in my background to doing other things and an aunt had been forceful of the reverend mother in britain and talked-about how she's tried to influence the education policy and i enjoy talking with her and even more so the older sister who had gone to india to become involved with children who would not have had an education and all the issues related to that. i thought this was
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interesting and worst doing so i decided the best option was to offer myself to become a nun so at the age of 17 i spoke to the reverend mother to say i decided to become a nun. she said think about it. go away for a year then be will receive you. my parents were very happy with my choice because i honored to be a nun and they're happy to have me another year. they decided nothing was too good for their daughter said they thought they would send me to paris for one year. [laughter] that changed everything. [laughter] i describe that in detail in the book. [laughter] and they came under a
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different influence. i had a grandfather retired earlier and what he practiced with the pork guy against the landlord and he was pleased to have a young girl who was interested in what he was talking about. he did not know how to speak to a child and he spoke of being an instrument of social justice. it was not appropriate any more to become a nun and i decided to study law as a. so i went to college were my brothers were studying they followed our parents they were both doctors and my two
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younger brothers also were coming to college at the same time so there were five of us together. we were very lucky to get an apartment a house where oscar wilde was born and the coach would tell all the passengers to turn their heads but for reasons i go into not so much to do with me but in that same era of law school and someone i became friendly with called nicholas robinson says three of us got honors we were
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among those three and we went out to dinner and he decided he had better things to do so he would sit at the back of the class you draw cartoons but i sit at the front hoping to achieve good grades. i also signed forced myself and i try to save is honestly i wrote the memo are to be encouraging, push yourself and reach potential so i pushed myself to stand up and i got better at it so i decided to go forward for the dublin university law society and the first female student to be elected and by this stage i was interested
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in social change. in ireland at that time time, there was a total equation of crime and i felt this was not allowing the private individual morality and also that there were non catholics and we should open up to minorities to respect to the viewpoint so in my inaugural address on law and morality i need some -- i made some recommendations we should legalize family planning and should not criminalize consenting behavior and we should not have suicide as a crime.
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i remember the speech caused in quite a fuss as it was new to the examination of the move to slightly larger audiences there was the moment of silence when i finished it i was worried they're less more than a decent applies but the thought was that is what students do maybe i have been more outspoken than others but then i was lucky to get fellowship to harvard university that was a wonderful year to be in harvard when i found they were questioning the immoral for of vietnam and escape --
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is keeping the draft some of the civil-rights movement and people were briefly joining martin mr. king was assassinated april of 68 and just after i graduated kennedy was assassinated that had a huge impact on me. instead as the good quality of law in london if you could write fast and giveback accurately you did well but in a harvard they would change the goalpost and that was interesting because it encouraged sinking but most of all but struck me which was so different from the ireland i have left was young people making a difference favor
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deciding we could make a change and use things and we are going to bring on our own perspective so i came back to ireland in 1968 to practice and teach lot and as mine has been to be said i was in view was something he recognized as harvard humility. that led me the following year to question why it was those who were traditionally elected to the six universities scenes with elderly male professors, why was that? my friend said if you do
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want to go forward we will campaign with you. i was elected to the senate at the age of 25 that means i was practicing law but to influence lot and i had a program going back to the inaugural address in the first item on the agenda was to legalize family planning and for me that was my analytical strength and it was very clear it was not with what was happening in ireland but that they must have regulation problems because that is the only way to get the contraceptive pill with cycle regulation problems. the condom without any sanction was against the
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criminal law to sell it so clearly this needed to be addressed by a relatively simple bill amending a criminal law of 1935 and male colleagues supported me you needed three for the private member's bill and the normal coast -- course it would we tabled in be published but that never happened it was held for a long time and meanwhile i had touched of raw under if and i was denounced and i got hate letters that catholic archbishop required a letter re-read out in the diocese every church that said such a measure would be a curse upon the country. i remember the irish president said a curse upon the country.
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i was 26 and just married and it was tough actually very difficult. i remember feeling very defensive even walking down the street they would say you are the devil incarnate doing terrible things i was used to being inspired and that was not a problem that i was a hate figure and those who knew nothing about me telling me how terrible i was. they saw was very affected by these letters to go back and read them in horror. so we both now regret he read that correspondence because it is a part-time but nobody wants to talk about sexual relations or the still all the legislators, said the fear
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of doing so. we persisted in change from criminal law with the whole family planning bill that was printed but not adopted but gradually the irish government did take responsibility nine years later with the measure and now that is of course, the controversial at all. meanwhile i was enjoying teaching law and a loved the interaction and i was practicing law and because of the opportunity to discuss tonight is state's constitutional law i quickly decided that was the area i wanted to focus on to take the test cases there issues of equality i would take them in the irish courts then there was the possibility these cases
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could be taken beyond the irish court just as the high court or supreme court because ireland had ratified the european convention on human rights and fundamental freedoms and all of that meant you could take decades having exhausted the remedies to go direct to strasbourg and the other possibility was to take cases to join the european union were there were directive said equal pay and equal opportunity binding on ireland there be a reference to go to luxembourg and argue then get a ruling because the irish court would be bound to apply and i enjoyed those cases but
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one that stands out with the sale in the book because so would miring of the client herself a client called to see she claimed she had an abusive husband who beat her and he was convicted in the district court and given affine and she alleged he continued to be her and he -- she wanted to get a judicial separation. but she would have to go into the high court that was complex of a procedure she went to various lawyers in cork to see if somebody would help her to take the case and no boat -- lawyer was willing because no question of the cost being paid there would not be able
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to pay because he was very pork. she saw an article in the irish newspaper that ireland had ratified the convention but it was possible to take a case to strasbourg to the commission and she wrote a long letter but it had a colonel of truth she was denied access to court to protect her family life under the european convention and some clever lawyers decided there was an issue to be argued so they provided the legal aid to recruit a solicitor to argue the case before the commission of human rights for it is an irony that legal aid came from strasbourg because the argument was there was no legal aid at that time.
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we succeeded before the commission and then back a year or two later it was heavily argued on the other side by the government of ireland because they could see the implications. that means ireland could have to introduce legal aid and paid lawyers to provide them to pour clients. it was a vigorous case and partly because we were supported by the commission be one on those two articles number six and eight that denied access to justice and not protecting family life they made a wonderful speech that said this wasn't just for me but women who were denied justice why should we
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be putting up being beaten in our homes and not be able to go to court? it was a wonderful moment did i was touched when i got a letter from the keys senior counsel at the time he was such a leader and he wrote me a handwritten letter and it was such a great thing to get in your early thirties when you do a case was no precedent. no case before so i really enjoyed that. also moving various measures that nick and myself established a center to provide guidance to various sectors, labor, industry,
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wo men's issues to look at the impact of regulations and directives of the european union. we were very happy about that. we had successful elections to the senate. i tried twice but clearly i was not a very good politician at grassroots level of was not able to have the conversation so i did not succeed in either case. i was reelected after i joined the irish labor party and i decided i wanted to go back to the independent bench to focus on issues of northern ireland. there is the anglo-irish agreement that they said was a breakthrough in relationships but it was totally opposed by the whole
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unionist communities so i felt if something was totally opposed by one sector it will not work it did not change the dynamic so i wanted to express those concerns so i had resigned from the labor party to be an independent but then we came up to 1989 and now i felt of member of the gulf chambers these cases were interesting and changing the circumstances and a way that was all about social justice. we had three young children the and this was eight. so i decided not to go forward but retire and concentrate on law practice.
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that is what i've read do for the future. we were happy. all is well that the 14th of february 1990 i get a surprise phone call from former neighbor attorney-general from john rogers that says he wants to discuss privately. so we came into our dining room and he post the question would you be prepared to except a nomination of the labor party? the have and always had elections and presidents are elected that nobody is
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opposing but that was a complete surprise. not very positive because the presidency at the time the six presidents and has served were elderly when they were elected because they were not opposed and served with distinction but not proactive so there were important powers of the supreme court if they are unconstitutional to address both houses but mainly it was a ceremonial figure head type of role and the importance role outside ireland and as the first citizen of the country but the power rested with the prime minister and his
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cabinet in a parliamentary system and the fact that dave decided to nominate a candidate not that the person would win but the labor party was the smallest of the three and it was known they were very literate and it was well known said deputy prime minister tarnished by the largest party and they were a shoe and. with the irish bookie's give you a sense of what your odds are at strategic moments. [laughter] they posted my aunt's as soon as i was nominated i was 100 / one against. [laughter] we did not put money on it. but i was encouraged by a neck when i told him he said
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it is valentine's day. come to lunch and he said your the constitutional lawyer have you looked at those provisions? i had to admit i glossed over there are not in the front of my mind so i went back and read the provisions that those two were of a sense of but also below people voted to do your best for seven years to take this on and the personification for the country of the seven
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years, he would have a taste for a more pro-active presidency. northern ireland tries to begin a peace process. those that were interested the time the two men were nominated they also said we shall have a more elected presidency they have not suggested things are if you run for office one way or another, you get to know how to be in tune with two you are speaking to or hone your
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arguments. after a early burly election i was elected president and in my speech of acceptance with that incredible excitement and huge emotion it was a signal of a different ireland that somebody of my record would be elected to serve as presidents for seven years and so many people cried. have a choice because they could not believe it the imide acceptance speech and i singled out and saying to those women of ireland because i knew that was one of the things that helped of course, and a general election you have to be voted men and women but there were so many wives to did not tell their husbands but just voted differently or daughters did not tell
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their father and i have proof of that more recently i was in boise idaho speaking to an audience and at the end of the speech a young woman in her early thirties came towards me purposely with her hand out. so i came down and she shook my hand and said i wanted to shake your hand you were my first vote i was 19 at the time and i told my father he nearly killed me. [laughter] so it captures the fact there were women who came out. the second thing that i mentioned was the power of symbols. i said i would put a light in the window of the official residence of the home of the president i said
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i would put a light in the window for all of those who had to emigrate over centuries and decades that we wanted them to know there was a light in the window. i did feel strongly about that. i did know the irish falling on hard times we did not carry enough including this country who dealt with undocumented irish i knew that from my senate-- and i wanted that to be a simple but i totally underestimated we were thinking of a candle that is the ultimate symbol but they said no candle it could burn the place down so we got a layup specially made with no off switch and we plugged into the kitchen the you could see from the road and that was the ultimate symbol from the
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lights from the road to say you are welcome. i was welcomed any place i came australia, argentina australia, argentina, europe , britain, wherever, people would we standing at the podium to say reid know you have a light in the window and that encouraged me to look at the diaspora i did not know what it was but it was the shaping of a connection which is so much stronger now leading up to the st. patrick's day weekend there is a concerted effort this year to have people come back for a gathering that builds on the idea of a connection of the diaspora. in my inauguration address i
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was keen to try and set out what my promise was. i tried to support locally i would visit places and support clubs and activities and work that was done and being changes in parishes and inner cities to cope with employment and iraq. also its represent ireland at the national level and international level in particular to be a champion of human rights. how will i do this that somehow it did come along in 1982 i was invited to cope with this terrible situation in somalia where warlords were preventing food from
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getting to the people nobody was prioritizing but the situation was critical the government was afraid that i went to somalia and it martin be in the way that was difficult to see these long lines of people were seeing dead children because they did not get there soon enough and the work that was being done and the injuries from the fighting going on and i did manage to speak with both warlords. nick accuse me to coax them in the tummy but i did like my finger to say this is not
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acceptable. food musket to people so they can survive then i went to new york to draw attention to the situation. he thanked me for years and years afterwards but had they raise the situation and it was very useful for his purposes having gone to somalia and was less difficult that it became more of what i expected to do to go to rwanda and we did go in 1994 something you never want to see and the blood splattered ruined the issues and clothes and a small government trying to
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cope with a huge population and the following year 1985 was the 50th anniversary of the united nations in new york. i knew the 50th anniversary of would-be us time of rhetoric from all over the world to make speeches. i went back to praying the reality of that to the united nations and i remembers scenes that a prison that had such a population that's them were getting gangrened they could not lay down they had to stand and the awful images of that. the third time i went to
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rwanda march mean of 97 before i completed my term, and the african woman's conference because the march was in april 3 years before. those women had been a spirit and determination to hold a women's conference. i was one of two women not african invited and it included a vice president thomas of women and academics they came as sisters and that set rwanda on a particular course i remember going back to dublin there was a press conference i tried to sum up and use a phrase that is a cliche but i have seen the future of africa and she
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works. because you know, that women do the work but also had a different level of political decision making and determination. i loved serving as president. every day was full and special and yet when we came close to the end of the seven years i think the conventional wisdom is if i would have went ahead i would not have been opposed because people were used to me and it was a reasonable job but have a glove to do with for another three years but in my heart could i do and another seven years? and it was my a vision to
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strengthen the office is a bit better now to say that somebody else come with their capacity to take that forward. i decided not to seek a center and of course, the next president brought her own skills and now we have our current president is bringing his string diana glad it is in good standing at a difficult time. it is good to see that is filling a more substantial role but having not see a second term, what to do? it was lonely but by coincidence the first u.n. commissioner resigned suddenly a wetback to native
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ecuador the rumor was he left because the job was too difficult. i approached the irish government because i was still president may of 1997 and that was not finished until september. i said, like the irish government to nominate me. i was warned that the office was small, underfunded, of low morale there other possible jobs that this was human rights and i said this is the one i want to do. so they ran a very vigorous campaign and coffee of nine decided to appoint me and put pressure on me said the office was in disarray had to come quickly i allowed
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myself to be persuaded and agreed to come 10 weeks early in the irish people did not like that. i had been elected for a full seven years and the low and behold i have left earlier and i admit it was a mistake and i should have said i want to serve my term because i have trust with the people of ireland. but kofi anan always praised meagerly i said if i knew then what i knew now the u.n. was always a crisis i would have waited. [laughter] it's but it was a shock to find there were management issues and good human rights officers everybody felt they
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were underfunded and did that have the support and in july there was a reform package that greatly increased the positioning and role of high commissioner of human rights it was the only office that was a member of all for executive committees humanitarian, development and economic and social issues. the office is based in geneva somehow we have to manage all of that's so for the first few months everything seemed to be up problem so my response was to get up earlier and earlier every morning and stayed later and take sleeping pills. it was a difficult time and i could not probably right about this except i was writing it with my daughter
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who helped me. she was here a few days ago that she has two young children and could not stay longer but she said i remember how absolutely affect did you were you would not even talk to us you were so exhausted and stressed about the job. you have to right that. somehow i was seen as someone successful but here i it permitted the job was so difficult it was undermining my health and one said it was a careful eye was heading to a breakdown. but the sleeping pills i would take time and taken extra week then go back from then on it wasn't difficult the be built up a great team
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and i figured out the best way for me to fulfill the role was to be with the victims were. solana time was spent and the word that terrible violations took place. of went to chechnya, it was brutal but i was focused on russian with federation uniforms that were violating human rights and also to get witnesses with the russian ngo very brave of the country to take on the cause and these were taking place but we had the first ever
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resolution of the human rights commission passed against but it was a good day's work for accountability of human-rights. i went to sierra leone an each of the country's refugees were pouring out of kosovo and addressing their issues of helping said prosecutor of the tribunal had more support for the work she was doing became one of my successors as high commissioner. and went to china to describe as a former president i had better access to the president and senior officials then if i had just been minister or
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ambassador or an academic the fact that i have the standing i had access. i learned that so i used it the best i could. but i encouraged the chinese government to find those covenants on social rights during my time as high commissioner and they had workshops or they bring chinese experts and would bring outside experts looking and re-education through labor putting people away with no due process i was also briefed on the worst transgressions of the
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tibetan monks and priests the political dissidents and ever raise these cases and very rarely got satisfaction. so i got encouraging remarks with the chinese for doing on one side but then by far the strongest voice and i learned that the media were completely divided they never picked up by had also given set -- certain measures for violations of human rights. the chinese papers gave me full coverage. high commissioner praises china. it was very interesting and it was hard to get a balanced view the last year i served was after the
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terrible attacks of 9/11 and i also completed the most difficult task was the conference against racism but that was tough because once the united states alone carefully upheld its commitment against torture it made it much more difficult to say these standards still applied because ministers of egypt and pakistan say look at the united states. first of all, they should have upheld the standards and secondly it was leading to problems all over the world that all were reporting on that i was trying to address. when i finished the five years as high commissioner i've wanted to pioneer and work in a practical way the
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part of human rights and i thought western countries do not pay attention to like health and education, safe water so based here in new york, i have colleagues in aspen who worked on a health program, we were focused on supporting economic and social rights. we worked on health issues issues, a decent work issues but it took me to african countries over a period of what ended up being eight years over 2010. for five of those years i realized something had happened all over africa that was not being taken account of. people would begin a sentence by saying things are so much worse.
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we don't have predictable seasons any more. when i was growing up my friend would say we were pork but we knew when to so and when to harvest. we had food now we have long periods of drought and flash flooding and more drought. says she formed a group to cope with that. in nigeria i knew her before she was president, when i was growing up we had to predictable rainy seasons that came within one week of when they should. not any more now we get one it did go on too long and have all do like men to my room for manage my economy? not just africa but south asia, latin america, i was in bangladesh i saw the devastating impact of the
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flooding of a cyclone it had put hundreds of miles of fields that the crops would not grow. i saw what adaptation means you have to have new ways to grow water involved or very dry conditions. this is expensive and difficult. of course, if you undermine people with their livelihood of food security it is a huge gender dimension. it is women primarily to have to put food on the table. that is a pattern that is so impact fall it goes on for years but we have not heard as much about it but they did not know it was caused by the carbon emissions from
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elsewhere so webern not talking about it but they talk about it when we went there but this was the worst human rights problem but then i read the science and realized that only of big human-rights problem but there was a foundation in ireland of climate justice that stars with injustice those that are these responsible. it is beginning to affect there is said disconnect but the other would be quite
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hard that is in to your generational justice. for a short period of time to take measures to curtail the carbon emissions and adapt with slow car been energy because already we have warned the world to a stage of climate shocks that we were headed for the 4 degrees world than it describes that it is catastrophic. the worst in porous parts affects everybody like the titanic. not just the people in steerage who survives. and that it is confusing people that we have
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forgotten about the people. but let me finish. i don't want to speak for too long. hopefully we have a question and answer but how i captured intergenerational justice. our first grandchild was born he is the older child of the daughter who helped me right. when the number one was born i had a physical reaction. somehow i read calibrated physically and i now think this is part of his life now joined by three other grandchildren. fable be in there '40's 2050 that is of key year with
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climate. they will share the world with 9 billion others. we now have 7 billion so the fastest growth of population ever known. a world where we will definitely have severe weather shock's, big problems of food security and what will they say about us? what would they say about the decisions we take for don't take no? we're in such -- situation in 2015 is such an important year if those in doha and catarrh say we commit to a climate agreement by 2015 in the fact by 2020 but they are not urgent about it and it may not happen and and at
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the end of those goals were facing sustainable development goals in and cover. but the most extraordinary leadership that is talking to us to change our ways and be transformative to meet the issue. are we? . .
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[applause] >> here are two microphones. who is going to start because this is the interesting part for me to hear your views and
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questions and i would love if people when they do ask questions will be coming out to ask questions and just say who you are. pass the microphone. yes, good. great. >> thank you. [inaudible] you probably know my question. during the year of 2009 from january to may there were about 70,000 civilians massacred by the government, and you were the only high level official to speak about the gravity of the situation when most of the officials were tight mouth about the problem. so, i especially came here to say thank you for your position on this and more so your role in
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releasing that human rights based statements pressuring the government, so my question to you is when he have a conflict such as you saw in sri lanka how do you deal with it when the states are being protected under the guidance and no one is taking the role of the affected people? a lot of parallels between the struggle. just some idea looking to the future. it's true that recently the elders -- many of you may know that there is a group of elders that nelson mandela brought together. there were ten of us under the chairmanship and jimmy carter
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from this country and norway etc. i always try to make it clear that i am one of the younger elders. but anyway, we have tried to address certain issues and quite recently last year the situation that you described was coming before the human rights council, and it can be difficult for the governments of the human rights council to pass a resolution criticizing the country and in fact they mounted a huge campaign to prevent itself from being criticized and we felt it was important to remind the human rights council of the scale of the violations and the lack of accountability and justice process to address that issue so we were quite active and they pass a resolution criticizing sri lanka, they gave
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them credit for certain things but there was a resolution which held them to account and they were not adel pleased and this year it's come up again and we felt very strongly not enough progress has been made on this issue and it's important for the human rights council to be sufficient to have the courage to say that was a long time ago and things have moved on but actually to hold from, so actually that will be the case. the problem is of course that the government's claim their sovereignty as you mentioned that actually one of the good things about the conventions and the role of the united nations is that is acknowledging the issues of human rights don't stop at the borders you can't just put up a sheet and say sovereignty. we've gone beyond that and it's right for the international community to concern itself and we've tried to concern ourselves and in the book i describe some of my visits to places with the
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elders to north korea for example and president jimmy carter brought before who'd been there once as the general director of the organization that she was shocked to have the hospital conditions at least as bad in the hospital visited and the former president of finland hadn't been there before. the difficulties of north korea upping the temperatures i still believe we need a dialogue and the elders are better to try to open up space to discuss both the nuclear issue, human rights issues, food security issues because the food fish you was a very big one in north korea. we also went to different african countries, toussuire leone and to south sudan but we also have a major program still continuing of addressing an
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issue which began on how to address and women and girls and they need to be equal to the child in the communities to have the same opportunities etc., and having issued -- we realized it can be a distortion of religion or faith and that causes the tradition and women to the to be limited or the girl or a child not to be sent to school and therefore we issued a strong statement of the elders about three years ago now saying that the leaders should champion the quality of girls and women that should be part of their spirituality and their faith and most of them are men. [applause] and then we said that's all very well but what are we going to do practically? and that brought us to the early
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child marriage issue and because marriage isn't a private thing it is sanctioned in some religious way and therefore it was a good example. i was aware of the expense of this in certain countries but by and large we underestimated and the archbishop is honest about saying that he totally underestimated the numbers that we are talking about. 10 million girls a year. that is 100 million girls in a decade or married without their consent, and very often without their knowledge on today itself way before they are ready for it physically or emotionally. we went to ethiopia where blah, -- the blah is and they went to the inherent region and the poor
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rural part of ethiopia that the average age of marriage was 12th. and we talked in the two villages that were addressing this and we saw what works. if the whole village embraces the need to let girls stay in school because they are convinced that is actually good for the girls and the local economy of the village, brings on the infant mortality and child etc. that would be a way to have it work. then we went and few months later with another elder who founded the self-employed women's association, a wonderful woman that i have learned so much from we went to her country, india, to the state and interestingly the same age, 12. we went out into the school where there was a project for the boys and girls to sort of learned not to accept the child marriage and we talk to the
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girls in that school about the way in which they were negotiating with their parents to stay a year longer in school and when a girl will learn the word whispers she would come to her school to say look should see another year and she's only 14 she's only 13 let her stay until she's 14. we actually saw this being talked about. if there were a couple of people is that that is the culture of that area. that is the culture of the region. human rights are rights for every one. it's a harmful traditional
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practice. it's a traditional practice which is harmful because it denies girls and children all of their human rights of the right to be children, the right not to be married before they are ready, the right to education. almost all of the millennium development goals puts them at risk and a great risk of maternal death of their children and a dying. and so, by making that distinction, and you don't organized and a change but persuade people to work from within. we actually helped and have helped now to create a global partnership on child marriage, which is called the girl's not bribes, which is a lovely title. many organizations that work on the ground in different countries have been strengthened and resources because that partnership and a number of foundations very generous giving support to it. it has been a kind of way of addressing an issue of equality the was kind of hidden, the
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scale and because nobody really wanted to take it on and because it is involved in some way the power of the local imam and faith tradition leader, what ever it was. i feel like i'm beginning to give a lecture and preach, and i never intended to do that. [laughter] no one else is coming up to the microphone. what we call it a de -- one more. okay, one more -- >> [inaudible] >> of the boys were much, much older. and actually, sometimes he would have authority-year-old man and a 13 year old or even in a 80-year-old and a 12-year-old tree all of those. just to give you a sense of it, i did speak to one girl in one of the villages in ethiopia because we were allowed to speak to, you know, in more detail. she told me that she was 16 and she'd been married for a year. i would say her husband was probably 30. in fairness he didn't say a word.
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she was the one that spoke. i wanted to be kind to her so i said to tell me about your wedding day. and she looked at me with the saddest eyes and she said i had to drop out of school. she was a 15-year-old plane with her friends and then her parents said to marlo you will be married, go into that home, and that was it. so the men are generally a good deal older and the ways to not mary quite as young. sorry, yes, please. >> [inaudible] a real hero. >> [inaudible] >> if you are a hero to them you are a hero to me. thank you. my question is you mentioned earlier on in the office of president did not really amount to much. a was ceremonial. >> i don't want to denigrate it, but it was -- >> it did not have the more -- the official office. today obviously it's much
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different, thanks to you and others that have come after you. as a come today how does the office of president being so much more important now coexist with let's say the prime minister politically? >> i think the coexistence goes very well. when there are deep issues that are partly moral like the report , the initial reaction i think is fair to say that the government didn't match the feeling that this needed more and the president said not much but enough to send a signal. they then gave an eloquent apology. there might be a little bit of tension involved and i had to be very careful myself not to get involved in the political, etc. but it's healthy. i think it is a good thing that
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the office can kind of transcend immoral signal from time to time. i deutsch very carefully because we shouldn't get involved in the political. the most difficult thing that i did which i did think very deeply about is when i went into the republican west belfast knowing in 1992i would be taking the hand of gerry adams which nobody would be doing at the time and i would be criticized, but it was some important to bring that community and republican west belfast out of isolation because they didn't want to be part of britain and isolation because the south wasn't paying attention because of the violence and i never regretted, but was difficult. schenectady want to ask? okay. these are the last. okay on both sides. >> thank you so much for your presentation and work. my name is maria and i am here the international peace in new
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york. i'm very interested in the concept of the inter generation of justice. and in particular obviously for climate change that makes sense and you could even extend that perhaps to gender equality. and i'm curious, you know, you said it's difficult to get political leaders to buy into this idea. obviously we have a very short term nature of the political election cycles and so forth. what should the leaders be looking at in these problems and how can the best meet these challenges? >> your generation is thinking seriously the process that we have been describing about 2015 should help us because there is a commitment to the climate agreement which has to keep the world below only 2 degrees of warming of the industrial --
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preindustrial standards, and that has been agreed. but we are not on course. 2 degrees is that we and we are going up to 4 degrees and the world bank is selling as it is catastrophic. international agency says that is catastrophic. the ministry of the united states says this is a good security issue. so, you know, let's -- also, following the conference last june which i was that, the government's are committed to replace and in some way the millennium development goals which are for the developing countries to support from the developed countries with sustainable development goals which would be for all countries. we may be keeping the millennium for the countries that need to reach them but they have to operate in a sustainable world. succumbing to of the climate agreement dialog telling us what that means, then we know what it means. we have to stay in the parameters. it's going to change behavior.
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we know little bit about that. on a remember she was a wonderful woman that won the nobel peace prize for her work planting trees. she would say with a smile long before people were talking about it this isn't just for the governor for the united nations this is from the private sector, communities, the individual. there is at least one thing that we can all do which is really use, readers and recycle and that was kind of to get people to think but in fact it needs more than that. as a come continue to think about it. and it will be hard to get real leadership on this because it isn't short term. it's inter generational. >> thank you dirty much. you are an inspiration to us all i work for a scientific journal and i feel fortunate to work with scientists who do research on a daily basis here in the u.s. as well as in europe.
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but it's become more interested recently in the need to develop the research capacity, to build research capacity in the developing countries. and some, not only for the diagnostic treatment of public health but really basic research to support public health issues in developing countries, and i was wondering if you have seen an evolution in that area and what you think of the international attitude towards this true building for people to do research in their own countries. >> i know a lot of developing countries feel this and that there is a cultural support as you have expressed and there is a network that is championing that. i know i've met members of the network a few times even in dublin and not so long ago. and its global that it's trying to build up the research capacity like other capacities need to build up justice could has become education capacity but very much research capacity.
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and also, value and use indigenous knowledge and, you know, build on that including in the climate context because that may in fact be very wise in ways that we need to understand better. i do very much agree with you. thank you triet >> all right. you are definitely the last. [laughter] what a wonderful position. thank you so much. i am here at the cooper union and i sat here thinking about your extraordinary range of political understanding and i wondered if you would be willing to just to speak of the entitlement around the syrian question from these many extraordinary points of view that you have experienced. >> well, i do as an elder, you know, think really on a daily basis about what is happening in syria because one of our fellow at elders is charged with a terrible responsibility. he is both the union and the
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arab league on flake and his heart is broken. he talks about what she's seen on visits to damascus and elsewhere, a devastated country. children killed, wounded, shattered, family -- a million people have now left syria and others are internally displaced in syriac and least 70,000 on a high commission have been killed and it is all full and it's a government that is allowing that to happen and it is also the failure of the security council of the united nations and i think it is a moment to sort of say this isn't in a classical sense a failure of the united nations. it's a failure of the governments in the security council to come together. and those governments in particular are including russia which has refused to accept the resolutions because it doesn't
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like the way they are framed and china supported russia. is it something about the way they are framed? was it too early an emphasis on the regime change? was that premature in the situation? yes he was doing terrible things but was there a better way? i don't know but that is the failure of the political level and it is devastating and it is a problem that we haven't learned how to ensure that at the very least we do not allow the slaughter of people in the 21st century and, you know, i hope that there will be some kind of an agreement. i think if we were a little closer to it behind the scenes but the damage that is done to the people of syria and many of the neighbors -- jordan is overwhelmed by refugees and they are destabilizing there. it is a very volatile region any way and this is just terrible what's happening. but i don't have an answer other
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than we know what is not working. and that is that the order of the united states which should be giving leadership on this and having the world behind it is not able to agree and that to me is not acceptable. there should be far more criticism of those countries and i don't even mean just russia and china. look at the whole thing and say why could you not agree? how did you try to agree? did you set positions and then not enable the agreement to be met? i do not know in full detail but it's such a terrible travesty that that is happening. and i think that it is time it ended. it's time that the people are allowed to breathe again because they cannot at the moment and it's terrible. we see it and know what is happening yet we do not seem to care. it's a human rights issue and a very difficult one to be a thank
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you. [applause] familiar faces to c-span and book tv watchers. norm ornstein and thomas mann the latest book gets even worse that looks the constitution's system collided with politics of extremism. very quickly what is the premise of your book? >> i have to say we have been with c-span's since the beginning and i have pictures in my office of moderating sections on the fifth anniversary of c-span, which is a very long time ago. >> he was on the panel with a
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very young new gingrich with others. a very thin also but that is a different story. this is a book about the reality that in 43 years that the two of us have been immersed in the politics of washington from one end of pennsylvania avenue to the other we've never seen it dysfunctional. the dysfunction is at a critical mass and we felt we had to speak out about how the problem is as the book says even worse than it looks it never looks good. we have to talk about who is at fault and what we can do to get out of it. half of the book is about how we can get out of this mess. the argument basically is to fold. wanna, we have now polarized political parties. as a, internally very much like parliamentary parties. vehemently oppositional. but they have to work in the
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constitutional system in the checks and balances the mismatch between the parties and the governing institutions is problem number one. problem number two which is the thing for us to say and many people to hear is that the parties are not equal the implicated. we have something called asymmetric polarization in which the republican party has in recent years become almost a radical insurgency quite prepared to repeal 100 years worth of public policy. as a, we don't know how to cope with a situation when both of the parties are not operating in the mainstream and the book is written to help people
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understand why this has happened and what we can do about it. >> wasn't there a time that the democrats were in the party, that was asymmetrically out of balance to read most recently in the late 1960's in vietnam and other issues you can go back to the 1890's which was the last period of a dramatic polymerization when the democrats were off the rails on the left we come out of these terrible problems but it can take a decade or more and we don't think we have a decade or more so there is a sense of urgency and a bluntness frankly that has not been characteristic of a lot of our work but we feel it is necessary. >> did the 2012 elections to clarify anything? >> by all appearances it was a status quo returning us to the division of power obama in the
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white house, democrats have controlled the senate and the republicans in the house for. but appearances can be deceiving and they are. the most important reality of that election is that the republican to oppose anything and everything proposed by obama almost like a parliamentary party was not reworded. taking the debt ceiling hostage was not reworded. calling the obama health care plan, which was their own only a few years earlier, socialism was not reworded. that means they have to begin to rethink themselves, and importantly, democrats will not automatically embrace the same tactics in opposition so that was an important change that creates a new dynamic not that's
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going to solve our problems, but there is going to be no sitting around the campfire in washington making nice with one another. but the possibility now exists for a real effort and a successful effort to deal with our most pressing problems. >> too familiar washington faces, thomas mann and norman borkenstein it's even worse than it looks. this is book tv on c-span2. next, we hear from dina hampton in her book little red she profiles the graduates of the little red schoolhouse and elizabeth warren high school of new york city some ominous with progressive politics. this is about half an hour. [applause] thank you. i'm going to start by saying what i